European Commission criticised for omitting Christmas on EU school diary
The European Commission has come under fire for producing more than three million copies of an EU diary for secondary schools which contains no reference to Christmas but includes Jewish, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim festivities.
More than 330,000 copies of the diaries, accompanied by 51 pages of glossy information about the EU, have been delivered to British schools as a "sought after" Christmas gift to pupils from the commission.
But Christians have been angered because the diary section for December 25 is blank and the bottom of the page with Christmas Day is marked only with the secular message: "A true friend is someone who shares your concerns and will double your joy".
While the euro calendar marks Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish and Chinese festivities as well as Europe Day and other key EU anniversaries, there are no Christian festivals marked, despite the fact Christianity is Europe's majority religion.
Roman Catholic lobby groups and Christian Democrat MEPs have already complained to the commission about its Christmas card for this year which bears the words "Season's Greetings" with no reference to Christianity.
Johanna Touzel, the spokesman for the Catholic Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, said the absence of Christian festivals as "just astonishing". "Christmas and Easter are important feasts for hundreds of millions of Christians and Europeans. It is a strange omission. I hope it was not intentional," she said. "If the commission does not mark Christmas as a feast in its diaries then it should be working as normal on December 25."
Martin Callanan, the leader of the European Conservatives, accused the commission of being concerned about sending propaganda gifts to youngsters than the true spirit of Christmas. "Given that 2010 was the year when the EU was haunted by its own ghosts of the past, present and future, it comes as no surprise that the commission is turning into a bunch of Euro Scrooges. "Why is the commission spending money sending calendars to millions of schoolchildren in the first place? I'm sure that the children could manage without a present of this nature."
A commission spokesman described the diary as a "blunder" and said that in the interests of political correctness there would no references to any religious festivals in future editions. "We're sorry about it, and we'll correct that in next edition. Religious holidays may not be mentioned at all to avoid any controversy," he said.